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Opinion

The 6 key Newcastle United players to keep for next season

2 weeks ago
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The Newcastle United players saw a four match winning run come to an end.

The defeat to Liverpool also bringing a six game winning run to an end at St James Park, on top of that, the defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s team was the first Premier League home loss since 19 December 2021 (Man City).

With already 43 points on the board before we had even reached May, the Newcastle United players and fans already having thoughts about next season.

It appears inevitable that we are set to see a significant turnover of Newcastle United players this summer.

Departing Newcastle United players freeing up places in the squad, as well as generating some cash via transfer fees, as well as savings on wages.

The years of Mike Ashley neglect and then Steve Bruce adding to the problems with his presence, saw NUFC end up with an unbalanced squad that lacked any quality in depth in pretty much every area of the pitch, or indeed any quality at all…

A first squad of Newcastle United players, where the majority should have left by last summer (2021) at the latest, in most cases ideally long before that.

With relegation now (realistically) avoided, I think the following are the six key Newcastle United players to keep for next (2022/23) season:

Bruno Guimaraes – Getting better with every match, looking set to be a serious player for Newcastle next season and beyond.

Dan Burn – Has looked a class act from his debut, a level above any NUFC centre-back of recent years.

Kieran Trippier – Same story as Dan Burn but even more striking, his quality in games was top notch and a massive blow when he got injured. His free-kick goals a big bonus.

Matt Targett – Continuing the theme, best left-back for some time and a no-brainer that this becomes a permanent deal. Media reports claiming there is a buying option of £15m at the end of the season. Bargain!

Joelinton – What can you say? Has gone from zero to hero with Eddie Howe’s coaching and training bringing a higher level of fitness, plus the new position in the team. Could be great times ahead if these two Brazilians play at the top of their games.

Allan Saint-Maximin – Struggling for his best form at the moment.

Was out for almost two months and Eddie Howe making very clear how little ASM was able to train during that time.

I think Eddie Howe will have a plan for next season that includes how to get the best out of Saint-Maximin and the upcoming summer break will be ideal, for ASM to get his head around what he needs to do to move on to the next level he is clearly capable of.

The following are the eight Newcastle United players I think we need to keep for next (2022/23) Premier League season as squad players, though not guaranteed a first team spot:

Callum Wilson – A very good striker but one who you simply can’t rely on with his injury record, especially now into his 30s. I think regardless of that anyway, Eddie Howe will be looking to bring in a new first choice striker this summer, though maybe one that Wilson could potentially play alongside in some / most games.

Martin Dubravka – Has been in much better form lately, conceding more than one goal in a match only a single time since December 2021. I think a new keeper will arrive this summer but to compete with Dubravka, not automatically replace him.

Joe Willock – Another who has improved under Eddie Howe but still a long way to go before convincing he should be automatic first choice next season.

Fabian Schar – A no-brainer to get him to sign that new contract and I see him competing with the likes of Dan Burn and at least one summer signing for a place in the middle of defence next season.

Ryan Fraser – Has played a significant role in the recovery and started to score and create goals. Has shown himself to be an asset and I see him in and around the first team next season.

Elliot Anderson – Desperately needed to get out on loan and the 19 year is tearing it up in League Two with Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers. Hopefully a loan season in the Championship next season will see him progress rapidly.

Emil Krafth – A squad player who has really stepped it up in recent times. Clearly not getting in ahead of a fit Trippier but as a squad player…Makes absolute sense to keep him.

Jonjo Shelvey – Yet another one who has looked far better and fitter as he responds to Eddie Howe’s professionalism and more intensive and intelligent training. Will have a real fight to get into the team next season as the quality rises with summer signings and will need to keep putting this new-found effort in, to be a contender.

That is 14 Newcastle United players who I can see being retained an providing the basis of a squad for the 2022/23 season (albeit Elliot Anderson going out on loan).

Which leaves a host of Newcastle United players who I think the club will be willing to let go this summer:

Miguel Almiron, Dwight Gayle, Jamaal Lewis, Isaac Hayden, Ciaran Clark, Karl Darlow, Matty Longstaff, Sean Longstaff, Freddie Woodman, Mark Gillespie, Jeff Hendrick, Paul Dummett, Jamaal Lascelles, Javier Manquillo, Matt Ritchie, Federico Fernandez, Jacob Murphy

So many Newcastle United players up for sale / not having contracts renewed, allowed to leave, but it simply is in so many of these cases, what should have happened one, two, three, four…or more, years ago..

The reality is of course that moving on all of them will prove impossible, not least because certain players were given such ridiculous new contracts by Ashley and Bruce.

However, once this season is out of the way, watch out for Eddie Howe and the club’s owners hitting the ground running, when it comes to persuading Newcastle United players to move out and make way for a new look NUFC squad to compete next season.

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